El Paujil

El Paujil

Product of:  Venezuela
Aged:  3-4 years (estimate)
Price: under $10 in Venezuela
Alcohol: 35% ABV
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 7.5

Tasting Notes
Very Smooth.  El Paujil is polished golden copper colored rum, with are light and subtly sweet aromas, including the delicate scent of frangipani flowers, apricot, pear, spice, caramel, and very little bitter alcohol to bother your nose.  The initial taste is floral, accompanied immediately by flavors of butterscotch, vanilla and banana (nice and not overwhelming), with a slightly sweet flavor of added sugar and caramel.  Overall, the taste reminds me of a cross between a young Dominican rum and the 2 year old mildly spiced rums you find in the Grenadines.  Judging by the color and aroma before sipping, the medium-full body is a complete and pleasant surprise.  Dry fruity spice – like clove with orange – characterizes the flavors, making the limited but smooth finish all the more refined.  A slight sweetness remains on your lips while the throat ends dryly.  Finally, El Paujil delivers a bit more than you expect; it’s actually a pretty interesting, if delicate finish. 

El Paujil label

El Paujil will very likely be difficult to find.  I purchased the bottle pictured here   from a bar owner in the eastern Caribbean on the tiny, sleepy and beautiful island of Mayreau.  My shipmates and I were hot and thirsty for a lot of rum drinks after hiking up and over Mayreau’s hill. At Combination Café, I spied an unfamiliar rum bottle behind the bar. Always eager to sample a new rum, I had to try a snifter full.  I was instantly and favorably disposed toward El Paujil.  I struck a bargain to purchase the bottle for $18, , for this was surely the best rum we were going to find on the island,  and then “drinks all around” as is their custom.  A nearly empty bottle was all that remained by nightfall (thus explaining the rather depleted looking picture of the bottle at left).

Sure, El Paujil won’t win any awards in the ‘complexity-from-aging-in-the-dungeon-till-brown’ contests.  So what?  It drinks well during a hot day, it’s easy on the wallet and the senses, stands up to sipping all by itself, and mixes well.  El Paujil is one of those unassuming little surprises, a rum that delightfully delivers beyond your simple expectations.

Reviewed: September 2008, at Zani’s karaoki bar on Mayreau, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, West Indies.

© Dave Russell 2017